Islamic Counter-Racist Thought Food #79

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

Consider this:

[C]ases of Google building military drones, Facebook watching us all, and Amazon making facial recognition software for the police, need to be understood not as aberrations. Rather, they are business as usual … surveillance and unnerving links to the military-industrial complex are not signs that the Internet has gone awry, but signs that the Internet is functioning as intended.

Extract taken from Zachary Loeb’s “All Watched Over By Machines”, a review of Yasha Levine’s Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet (PublicAffairs, 2018), which is available here.

Peace

Islamic Counter-Racist Thought Food #78

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

Consider this:

Empire [i.e. the globally operating system of White Supremacy (Racism) under late colonial modernity] has mostly rescinded territory, only to continue its operation at the level of infrastructure, maintaining its power in the form of the network.

Extract taken from James Bridle’s New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future (London: Verso, 2018).

Now consider the following comment on the above:

If the infrastructure of the internet is operated by the vestiges of an empire [i.e. the globally operating system of White Supremacy (Racism) under late colonial modernity] invested in the exploitation of the greater part of humanity, how we can we expect the internet to work for that same humanity?

[F]uture elaborations on Bridle’s work will have to reckon with this question he refuses to address: whether the only way to save the internet and the planet is to actually seize its infrastructure — every last data center and switchboard — from the powers that be so that it can finally serve egalitarian, socially responsible purposes. Or, failing that, whether it would be in the best interest of humanity to destroy the internet entirely.

Extract taken from Thomason, J. (2018) “Is It Easier to Imagine the End of the World Than the End of the Internet?” The Intercept, 24 November 2018. Available here.

Peace

Islamic Counter-Racist Thought Food #77

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

Consider this:

I’ve always thought that most people’s jobs aren’t their real jobs. Their real job is to go shopping. That’s your function in this society … Science has gone from being an optimistic source to a pessimistic source. Politics has gone from being dynamic to being static and managerial. And tech has brought in a system of feedback management that’s so seductive that we’re trapped … The key thing you have to realise about the machines is that they don’t look at us as a narrative. They look at us in a way that’s outside of time. They take everything that happened from all different times and they slap that data together, and it’s just about correlations. It has no narrative to it whatsoever. And we are trapped in that non-nutritive world … People want a big narrative.

Extracts taken from “The Antidote to Civilisational Collapse: An interview with the documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis”, The Economist, 6 December 2018. Available here.

Peace

Islamic Counter-Racist Thought Food #76

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

Consider this:

Artificial intelligence evokes a mythical, objective omnipotence, but it is backed by real-world forces of money, power, and data. In service of these forces, we are being spun potent stories that drive toward widespread reliance on regressive, surveillance-based classification systems that enlist us all in an unprecedented societal experiment from which it is difficult to return. Now, more than ever, we need a robust, bold, imaginative response.

Extract taken from Powles, J. (2018) “The Seductive Diversion of ‘Solving’ Bias in Artificial Intelligence”. Medium, 7 December 2018. Available here.

Peace

Islamic Counter-Racist Thought Food #75

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

Consider this:

Objectivity has a history; it has not been a fixed and static concept, nor have its meanings and references been constant in different social, cultural, or political environments. Rather, it has been transformed again and again in response to distinctive historical events and processes. Here we can note that these historical events and processes include secular and religious-spiritual elements. (p.140)

Extract taken from Sandra Harding’s Objectivity and Diversity: Another Science From Below. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015.

Peace

Islamic Counter-Racist Thought Food #74

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

Consider this:

The essence of technology is by no means anything technological. Thus we shall never experience our relationship to the essence of technology so long as we merely conceive and push forward the technological, put up with it, evade it. Everywhere we remain unfree and chained to technology, whether we passionately affirm or deny it. But we are delivered over to it in the worst possible way when we regard it as something neutral; for this conception of it, to which today we particularly like to do homage, makes us utterly blind to the essence of technology.

Extract taken from Martin Heidegger’s seminal essay “The Question Concerning Technology”.

Now consider this:

The essence of [race] is by no means anything [racial]. Thus we shall never experience our relationship to the essence of [race] so long as we merely conceive and push forward the [racial], put up with it, evade it. Everywhere we remain unfree and chained to [race], whether we passionately affirm or deny it. But we are delivered over to it in the worst possible way when we regard it as something neutral; for this conception of it, to which today we particularly like to do homage, makes us utterly blind to the essence of [race].

Extract taken from “Chapter 1: The Technology of Race and the Logics of Exclusion: The Unruly, Naturalization, and Violence” in Falguni A. Sheth’s Toward a Political Philosophy of Race (New York: SUNY Press, 2009).

Peace

Islamic Counter-Racist Thought Food #73

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

Consider this:

It is telling that, in the post-truth, or post-fact society, we are told that facts no longer matter: emotions matter. In the post-fact world each individual stands on different grounds, isolated in their own technologically mediated echo chambers and filter bubbles that feed them information increasingly foreign to any commonly recognized actual state of affairs. In Leibnizian terms, a post-fact world implies that compossibility* is wearing thin, that experiences and events are no longer reciprocally presupposed. Untethered to any common historical thread, liberated from the constraints of a compossible real, free-floating affects now wishful-think themselves into oblivion. As our predictive landscapes abandon their commitments to realism, our self-fulfilling hyperstitions now diffract into a plethora of unconnected and worldless strivings. (p.19)

Extracted taken from Wilson, A. (2017) Techno-Optimism and Rational Superstition. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 21(2–3): 1–21.

* According to Wilson (23017), Leibnitz held that the world “exists nowhere but in the reciprocal meetings of different simple substances, which correspond to events of experience. The compossibility of the facts of the world results from the reciprocal inclusion of every point of view upon the world. A world’s possibilities are therefore constrained by the compatibility of the contingent truths that occupy it. Nothing can happen that is not compossible with what has already happened, and retroactively, nothing that has happened in the past can have been incompossible with what is currently before us.” (p.10)

Peace